Dedicada ao Mercado Floresta a matéria de abertura da última edição da revista semestral da FAO "Non-Wood Forest Products" (Inglês)

Economic value of nwfps
Forestry products gain market in Brazil

Food, fashion and furniture. These are the profits that come from the forest. Almost 8 400 people visited the Forest Market, the first fair on sustainable forestry products held in Brazil, from 5 to 8 November 2005 in São Paulo. Visitors had the opportunity to learn about 204 enterprises with projects reflecting the biodiversity of ecosystems such as Amazonia, the Atlantic forest and savannah. A group of four environmental organizations (Amigos da Terra, Imazon, Imaflora and the Reserva da Biosfera da Mata Atlântica) joined together to conduct the fair with products originating from forests, all produced in a sustainable manner.

The principal objective of the event, i.e. increasing business and making contacts for future business, was quite successful: the majority left the event with orders or contacts for sales. With products directed as much at retail stores as at the industries of transformation, the fair offered honey, oils and materials for cosmetics, bags of vegetable leather and timber for furniture designers. “The forestry economy is a reality in terms of employment and income,” affirmed the director of Amigos da Terra, Roberto Smeraldi. Quantifying this reality was one of the challenges faced by the organizers.

Listed below are some of the cases that can be considered emblematic of the diversity of commercial relations regarding NWFPs established during the Forest Market and that show their market potential.

• The Kayapó People of the Indigenous Territory of Bau sold their entire crop of Para nut oil, for a total of R$50 620.

• Artisans linked to SEBRAE of Tocantins state sold at retail R$7 250 jatoba dolls and golden grass (capim dourado) products.

• The APA cooperative from Rondonia estimated that through contacts made during the fair it will increase sales of cupuacu (plant of the cacao tree) pulp by 100 tonnes starting with the next harvest.

• Five São Paulo companies requested native cacao from the next harvest from the producers along the riverbanks of the Urucurituba in Amazonas state.

“We do not have an exact notion yet what the forestry economy represents for Brazil. What will come to São Paulo will be only a sample of the innumerable types of products and services that the forest can generate,” stated Smeraldi. The list is extensive and covers items such as typical fruits, cosmetics, handicrafts and vegetable leather.

The intention was to offer visibility for small businesses, such that they become part of the most varied productive chains. As an example, Smeraldi made reference to native cacao, produced on the river plains of the Amazonas River. In Amazonia, native cacao, a tree that can reach up to
15 m, has special characteristics that make it an interesting product for predetermined niches in the market, such as the cosmetics, pharmaceutical and fine chocolate industries. This cacao has a larger content of major fats than the cultivated species, which makes it more resistant to heat. “But as it is missing the structured productive chain, this special cacao often falls into the common grave of cultivated cacao,” Smeraldi stated. “This is the type of product that we will show at the fair.” (Sources: O Estado de S. Paulo, 13 October 2005 and 2 November 2005 and Mercado Floresta, 11 November 2005.)

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